PublicBookshelf Book Club
Weekly tips on great novels to read.
Simon Decourt lay on his bed, waiting. In the cell that had been his home for the last twenty-four years, he patiently bided his time. Soon a guard would come. Soon he would be told that "it was time". Soon the slate would be clean, dues paid. He was ready to once again take his place in society, promising himself that he would never end up behind bars again.
During his long stay at Smithsville prison, Simon had been - for the most part - a model inmate, always doing what he was told to do by the guards, never crossing the screws who ran the place with an iron fist. He was the type of guy who melted into the background and kept himself to himself. It was safer that way. And because he was neither a rapist nor a paedo, the other residents tended to leave him alone.
When he had first arrived at Smithsville, a fresh-faced, naïve twenty-two-year-old lad, he'd had a lush, full head of black hair, and was only showing the earliest signs of receding. He used to slick it back with wet-look gel, which served over the years to emphasize his gradual hair loss. By the time he was thirty-five, he was as bald as a Coot.
Pulling himself up and sitting on the edge of the bed, he looked towards the window to his right, squinting at the sunlight streaming through bars that he'd spent so many years looking out of longingly, sweat glistening on his bald head.